No other company better
represents the idea of progress in the digital age.
Google—and its parent company, Alphabet—is synonymous with finding new ways
to interact with the world,
and with each other.
As the way we buy stuff continues to shift fundamentally, the e-commerce giant
consistently gets people
excited about spending
The world’s most valuable
company is also one of the
most beloved, due to its gorgeous products, intuitive
services, and enduring halo
Thanks to visionary CEO Elon
Musk, eco-friendly products
can be luxury items, inspiring both pleasure and envy.
The streaming pioneer, now
also known for its original
programming, keeps rewriting the playbook for the
By encouraging strangers to
open their homes to each
other, the sharing-economy
icon isn’t just shaking up the
travel biz; it represents an
inclusive vision of the future.
Hottest. Coolest. Biggest. Newest. These are the
qualities most often celebrated in the lists of top
brands put out by agencies, analysts, and media
outlets. Although those attributes often correlate
with success, we have always taken a wider
view. What does a brand mean More than ever,
companies have the power to connect deeply with
people and bring about change. They can influence
the direction of larger culture and make an impact
on the way other businesses think and operate.
We decided to highlight the brands that truly
matter most right now. Since what “matters” can be
subjective—and somewhat intangible—we started
by gathering input from our Most Creative People
in Business community. We asked them to apply
four criteria: brands that are recognizable, deliver
a quality product, make a positive difference in the
world, and push their industries forward. Then our
own editors analyzed the results. Most important,
we wanted to identify those brands that are leading
with courage and confidence in a fast-changing
and uncertain environment. Some brands react to
disruption; these are the ones driving it, creating a
world of the future that is impossible to ignore.
THAT MATTER NOW
The companies that consumers love to love
ILLUSTRATIONS BY PETER OUMANSKI
because they stand for something more than merely what they sell
Humans crave connection—
and this is where it increasingly happens (for better or
More than just a caffeine
break, the “third place” is
creating community in unexpected ways and places.
(See page 78.)